There are few places in time more stunning and peaceful than winter in Yellowstone National Park. Exploring this land of geologic and wildlife wonders when it is decorated in frost and white snow is like moving through a fairytale.
Located just outside Yellowstone is the warm and equally peaceful town of Dubois, Wyoming. This will be your home base on your three-day itinerary of discovering winter in Yellowstone.
This story was created in partnership with Destination Dubois. All images provided by Destination Dubois.
Day 1: Get Settled In
When you arrive in Dubois, you’ll see why it’s long been called “the Valley of the Warm Winds.” Nestled between the Wind River and Absaroka mountain ranges, Dubois gets the benefit of warm, sunny days in town and lots of snow just beyond town.
Whether you stay in a cabin on the river or a lodge, check in, then go explore town. Walk the wooden sidewalks and gaze at amazing local art carved into antlers, then stroll next to the river to settle into vacation pace.
Continue walking off that jet lag in the three unforgettable and unique museums of Dubois: the National Bighorn Sheep Center, the National Museum of Military Vehicles, and the Dubois Museum.
Start in town at the Dubois Museum. This cozy space will have you in awe of the Native American and prehistoric history, as well as the tales of Swedish tie hacks and more. In the same town block, you will find the Bighorn Sheep Center, where you can learn about the largest wintering herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in North America (hint: they’re not far from the center).
Photo: Jay Lunsford
Finally, learn about automobiles that have a little more history than your rental car at the National Museum of Military Vehicles, located just outside of town. Believe it or not, this museum houses the largest private collection of military vehicles in the country.
After all that learning, we won’t make you think too hard about your dinner: get a real taste of the West at the Lone Buffalo Steakhouse. Get a full night’s sleep, because tomorrow the adventures begin!
Day 2: Discover Winter in Yellowstone
Grab a hearty breakfast and a piping-hot coffee at Coyote Blue Coffee & Deli and point your car toward Yellowstone, about 80 miles away. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, as the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway (the locals call it Togwotee (TOE-guh-tee) Pass) is absolutely breathtaking and home to plenty of wildlife.
Almost all the roads are closed in the winter in Yellowstone, so you’ll get to enjoy a crowd-free, peaceful journey through the first national park in the nation. Choose between a guided ski or snowshoe tour or a guided snowmobile tour starting at the south entrance of the park. There are many tour providers, so spend some time finding the best fit for you to experience winter in Yellowstone. Don’t forget your camera and warm clothes!
After a day of exploring this bucket-list destination, you’ll be ready for the comforts of home, and that’s why we chose Dubois as your home base. Nothing says “welcome home” like the rural landscapes and colorful cliffs surrounding this town … except maybe hanging out with locals for a pre-dinner beverage at the locally famous Rustic Pine Tavern.
Day 3: Play in Yellowstone’s Backyard
Start your day at the Cowboy Cafe for a classic Dubois breakfast. Fair warning: you’ll make plans to return for pie.
Head across the street to Wind River Gear and pick up some cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore the public lands that surround Dubois. Given its proximity to the national park, outdoor recreation in Dubois is simply an extension of yesterday’s tour in Yellowstone.
The experts at Wind River Gear will tell you where the snow and the trails are best for your chosen mode of over-snow fun, from a mellow loop at the Falls Trail, to a peppy climb to the Town Overlook trail, or an epic tour on the Deception Creek trails.
Regardless of how you choose to play in this gorgeous area, don’t forget sunscreen and water. More often than not you’ll be working hard than you think as you play under a clear, sunny, blue sky.
When you’re all tired out and your cheeks hurt from grinning, make your way back into town. Stop at Lava Mountain Lodge on the way, to reflect on your first three days of winter in Yellowstone and Dubois over a beverage and a snack.
Check the schedule to see if there is live music or community gatherings happening tonight—Dubois is known for hosting countless events, all for local good causes, that welcome travelers and residents alike. This is a great way to get to know the people that make Dubois such a special place.
Day 4: Choose Your Absaroka Adventure
If you can’t stop thinking about those bighorn sheep, it’s time to get a little closer. Or, if you really wish you could zoom through the snow on a snowmobile, chase that feeling. Either way, make your winter Yellowstone vacation your own in the Absaroka Mountains.
Guided Bighorn Sheep Tour
The National Bighorn Sheep Center offers wildlife tours with experts. Learn about and spot the local herd of bighorns. The center provides binoculars, transportation, and knowledgeable guides—even bag lunches, on these intimate four-hour tours.
Photo: Bill Sincavage
Guided Snowmobile Tour
The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail attracts snowmobile riders from all over the country. You can join them on over 600 miles of trails (meaning there aren’t crowds or lines), and even in the powder off-trail! Lodges like Crooked Creek Guest Ranch rent snowmobiles and gear and send you out with experienced guides to see all the sights and have some fun going fast.
Whatever adventure you choose for day four, polish it off with a big slice of pie at the Cowboy Cafe. We told you you’d be going back!
A vacation in the winter in Yellowstone can be so much more than the gem of a national park. Get to know the people who live just outside the park and have fun exploring all the reasons they call Dubois home. They’ll make you feel right at home, too, as you check Yellowstone off your bucket list and experience so much more. For more information regarding lodging, restaurants and activities, visit duboiswyoming.org.
Want even more? Build your vacation in the winter in Yellowstone and Dubois to include even more of the West. Learn more about our Yellowstone Road Trip Itinerary.